Two Flies

Mabb

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Hi all, looking some info from you salmon catching experts ?

I’ve always fished one fly for salmon,been reasonably successful but I’m considering trying to fish with 2 flies. Can you advise me on the best way to do this..length of leader and dropper, position of dropper on the leader, same size flies etc

I know there may not be hard and fast rules but would be nice to hear what way you guys fish two flies.

Thanks
Mark
 

SnapT14

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Quite straight forward, dropper always half way between the loop and end of leader. Heaviest fly always on the point. I always fish two flies unless I've got some heavy tube that I need to fish deep or a stripped monkey or sunray. Mostly you'll catch me on a floating line with polyleaders and two shrimp flies. :) Two flies does NOT catch me any more fish though lol
 

The flying Scotsman

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I would only fish 2 flies for grilse. 10lb maxima 3 turn water knot 5” dropper. As snap said heavier fly on the point. I’d go alloy tube on point and either plastic tube or double on dropper.
single fly for salmon. 15lb maxima going up to 23lb seaguar in the spring
 

Markymac

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Hi all, looking some info from you salmon catching experts ?

I’ve always fished one fly for salmon,been reasonably successful but I’m considering trying to fish with 2 flies. Can you advise me on the best way to do this..length of leader and dropper, position of dropper on the leader, same size flies etc

I know there may not be hard and fast rules but would be nice to hear what way you guys fish two flies.

Thanks
Mark
Hi Mark here in the north of Scotland most anglers/ghillies tend to use 2 flies especially in the summer months. I would tend to have my dropper tied about 6/7 feet from the line then another 3/4 feet to the tail fly. I would have the dropper length at about 4/5 inches. As said in other comments in higher water I would stick to a single heavier tube fly. Hope this helps.
 

Nigel Passmore

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:) Two flies does NOT catch me any more fish though lol

How do you know? And if you think that why do you fish with two flies with the increased risk, particularly with your direct dropper link set-up, of a break and fish loss from a double hook up, or, much less likely, snag? Why do you fish two of the same style of flies? A polyleader with nylon will basically present the flies at the same depth. So what are you trying to acheive in terms of presentation with this set up given fluctuations in temperature and air pressure will typically effect the taking level of salmon in any given hour, session or day?

I am sure you will have sensible answers to these questions, but if we are to provide answers to requests for information, should we not set out the logic behind why we would adopt any tactical approach we advocate?

Regards

NHP
 

keirstream

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How do you know? And if you think that why do you fish with two flies with the increased risk, particularly with your direct dropper link set-up, of a break and fish loss from a double hook up, or, much less likely, snag? Why do you fish two of the same style of flies? A polyleader with nylon will basically present the flies at the same depth. So what are you trying to acheive in terms of presentation with this set up given fluctuations in temperature and air pressure will typically effect the taking level of salmon in any given hour, session or day?

I am sure you will have sensible answers to these questions, but if we are to provide answers to requests for information, should we not set out the logic behind why we would adopt any tactical approach we advocate?

Regards

NHP


This has always been a conundrum to me.
In the Northern rivers when conditions are right I catch fish for fun on hitchers and skaters but fail abysmally to attract fish on a well worked, dibbled dropper, the point fly always doing the business. Not for the lack of trying, either.:(
To the point that I probably will not even bother next season, I have come to the conclusion that it is an unnecessary complication to my fishing enjoyment apart from the fact I had a well buried dropper lodge in the tender part of my thumb when a very spirited grilse woke up on the bank, flipped and headed back into the pool before I could unhook it.:eek:
So, there is also a clear and present H & S implication to consider also.
 

SnapT14

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How do you know? And if you think that why do you fish with two flies with the increased risk, particularly with your direct dropper link set-up, of a break and fish loss from a double hook up, or, much less likely, snag? Why do you fish two of the same style of flies? A polyleader with nylon will basically present the flies at the same depth. So what are you trying to acheive in terms of presentation with this set up given fluctuations in temperature and air pressure will typically effect the taking level of salmon in any given hour, session or day?

I am sure you will have sensible answers to these questions, but if we are to provide answers to requests for information, should we not set out the logic behind why we would adopt any tactical approach we advocate?

Regards

NHP

To answer your questions in as simple terms as possible. I will start by saying that I am no expert, and in all honesty I am willing to bet that most of the people on this forum will say the same..... Firstly, I don't know if it makes a difference fishing two flies and I certainly don't know for sure if it catches me any more fish. All I do know is that I have caught fish on both the dropper and the point. It gives ME confidence fishing two so thats what I do but only with small flies. Secondly, if tied properly, then a leader consisting of a point and dropper doesn't really cause any extra risk of lost fish in my opinion. Sure, it can be a faff at times but overall its no issue. As regards to double hookups.....well.....although possible im sure I dont need to remind you that we arnt talking about feathering for mackerel or stockie rainbows. One salmon at a time is something of a miracle to be honest. Thirdly, I'm unsure how on earth a polyleader fishes the flies at the same depth as nylon..??..if that were the case then wouldn't varied density polyleaders be pointless? I'd be willing to bet that my flies fish deeper with a fast sinking 5ft leader that they would with an intermediate one.....and believe me, im no gambler ! Last but not least, I am trying to achieve what every salmon angler sets out to do.....catch a fish. My methods will 100% be different in some way, shape or form to every other members on here. Variables in fly size, colour, leader length, depth, speed, how many flies, how few flies and on and on mean that nobody actually knows for sure why and when the magical take will come. I was just trying to speak in general, simplistic terms in response to Mabb post. I tried not to sound like an expert, because I'm not one. I try to tackle my fishing with a simplistic approach as I firmly believe that many anglers overcomplicate things to the point where they are constantly changing lines, flies, leaders, tips, rods or bloody reels.....basically wasting valuable fishing time.
I will however add one comment to my original post....

An experienced ghillie once said to me after I asked him why he was fishing a floating line during a falling spate where it was obvious he needed to get down a bit. His reply was typically blunt " if the fish want the fly, they will always come up for it, but believe you me lad, they won't go down "..... so basically Mabb, I recommend you fish a super fast sinking polyleader to keep the flies in the top layer of water. ;) :)

Thanks
 
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SEDGY

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Some interesting points made, and the argument of wether to fish one or two flies is simply down to personal choice /habits with good and bad conclusions possible from your choice .
I would say that if you try fishing two flies and catch on the dropper you will probably come to the conclusion that you may of missed on catching that fish had you of been fishing a single fly. So in order to maintain your confidence you get in the habit of fishing two flies, and would feel somewhat under gunned to be fishing a single fly. Confidence is key to success I guess
 

Mattytree

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Arm to arm stretch of 30lb floro down to a dropper ring , 6” for the dropper,then same length of arm to arm down to point fly.. I’ll keep the leader too Flys at 23lb floro but it can be handy putting the dropper on 30lb in windy conditions to stop getting wind knots as much.
I seem to cast worse and get in more tangles fishing a single fly these days and have not yet lost a fish because of the dropper ... come close but that was user net error !! I managed two 5lb sea trout on at the same time a few weeks back and it was no issue .. well to be honest I could not work out how such a small fish that I was looking at in the net had put up such a hell of a fight but after releasing I noticed another gasping in the bank side with my point fly in it’s mouth! The dropper caught fish had played the other one out for me.
 

The flying Scotsman

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This has always been a conundrum to me.
In the Northern rivers when conditions are right I catch fish for fun on hitchers and skaters but fail abysmally to attract fish on a well worked, dibbled dropper, the point fly always doing the business. Not for the lack of trying, either.:(
To the point that I probably will not even bother next season, I have come to the conclusion that it is an unnecessary complication to my fishing enjoyment apart from the fact I had a well buried dropper lodge in the tender part of my thumb when a very spirited grilse woke up on the bank, flipped and headed back into the pool before I could unhook it.:eek:
So, there is also a clear and present H & S implication to consider also.
I had 6 fish off the Helmsdale in July and all but 1 were caught on the dropper
 

The flying Scotsman

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Dibbling the dropper or both submerged?
Both. A 1/4” alloy templedog on the point and a wee 1/4” plastic alister on the dropper. Was nailing them on the Alistair. Had 3 in one day. Changed up to stoats alloy on point and plastic templedog on dropper and nailed them on the dog on the dropper. Dibbled on a shorter line steering around boulders and fished submerged on more normal pools.
 
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Nigel Passmore

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I first started fishing with a dropper in the early 1980s on the Upper Tweed in Autumn. That was with a two inch copper tube on the tail and a regular salmon fly on the dropper. I managed to catch a couple of small salmon on the dropper but stopped using this set up for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the longer leader required for the dropper was more prone to tangling in casting, particularly with a weighted tube on the tail. Secondly, the dropper on the sunk line created an additional snagging risk. To this day I don't use droppers on sinking lines for these reasons. However, I would be genuinely fascinated if there was someone on here who consciously does fish with a dropper on a sunk line.

Conversley, I have extensive experience of fishing with two flies for salmon when using a floating line. To the OP, if you are choosing to fish with more than one fly you should consider why you want to do so against the increased risks that using more than one fly creates which are principally:

  1. Introducing leader weakness via the dropper knot itself if you don't use leader rings, particulalry with Flurocarbon
  2. Catching the dropper fly on the line when excercising a tight loop on the forward cast
  3. A double hook-up
  4. Snagging the dropper or tail when you've hooked a salmon (although I have previously argued this is a small risk in reality)
I would argue that the benefits of droppers, when approrpiate, far outweigh these risks. I've caught hundreds of salmon on multi-fly casts. Would I have caught the same number using a single fly? Obviously I don't know. What I do know is that I could not have replicated the presentations I was using when the salmon took if I was using a single fly.

These are the situations where I have found a dropper to be of great use. However, each requires a different leader set up, leader material, type of fly and tactical approach:

  • Standard River Wet Fly Fishing
  • Czech Nymphing
  • Muddler/Wake Fly Fishing
  • Dibbling
  • Wet Fly in Lochs
  • Dapping
There is another form of dropper use I am aware of but have not tried, which is to attach a wet fly to the hook of a hitch fly New Zealand Style. I have done this for trout but not salmon. Again if anyone on here has first hand knowledge of this I'd be fascinated to read about your experiences.

1. Standard River Wet Fly Fishing

I've written about this before. If you are interested you can see it in this thread:


2. Czech Nymphing

This really needs a thread of its own. The dropper is where you load the weight. I have a box of flies (see below) which I can build with the aid of tungsten beads and cones to match the needs of the pool I'm fishing. Most fish take the tail which is deliberately as light as possible and fluters above and behind the weighted fly on the dropper. I use a 15' rod, 12' Tappered Fluro carbon leader, 2mm leader ring and 2-3' of tail section.

Fly Box.jpg


3. Muddler/Wake Fly Fishing

This is a Highland and Island tactic that should be used more often on lowland rivers e.g. big Dubbs on the Tay and Tweed. I use a standard Muddler L/S 8 on the dropper and a blue, black and silver on the tail or a cascade usually a size ten. Single handed rod, leader made of brown Maxima 8lbs 6' to dropper and 4' to the tail. You do need the wind but I had a couple of great days in July this year on the Halladale stripping muddlers through the waves.

One on the Muddler from Smigel

Grilse 4lbs liced Smigel.JPG


4. Dibbling

As I've previously mentioned there was an excellent article in T&S by Gordon Simm on this with detailed instructions on leader set up flys, tactics etc. For those not quite sure what is meant by Dibbling here is an example.

P7300049.JPG


5 Wet Fly on Lochs

One of the best exponents of this for salmon is Stan Headley both from boat and shore. He likes a three fly set up on a 14' leader. Personally, I just use 2 and typically on Maxima rather than flurocarbon. I like a slightly longer leader of 12'. 8lbs from line to dropper and then 6lbs to the tail on lochs rather than the 10' I use with muddlers on rivers. However, that is partly becasue I might also be seeking sea trout. I don't bother with leader rings when using Maxima and I use a four turn water knott for the dropper. In this instance the point of the dropper, as with the Muddler on river, is to create a wake. Interestingly I find while you need to fish the Muddler as fast as possible on a river, salmon seem to prefer a much slower retreive in a loch.

Salmon on a Muddler from Loch 1 on Grimersta

P1010005(1).JPG


6. Dapping

When I first started dapping for salmon on the Scourie Lochs, Stack and Moore decades ago we tended to use a single large Loch Ordie or similar. However, as the years went on we started to use a smaller dapping fly on the dropper and a 3' tail with a flashy wet fly. This offered the fish a choice and also helped anchor the dapping fly. Again, I simply use Maxima for this form of fishing. Of all the techniques I've referred to, this is the one I have done least of in the last couple of decades.

Regards

NHP

P.S SnapT14 I realise my previous response to you on this thread came across as rather kurt which was not my intention; all haste and no speed.
 
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SnapT14

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Thats a hell of a post Nigel, appreciate it. Its often difficult to judge the tone and context of an opinion by message, email or post but I just want you to know that my reply was meant to be light hearted and genuine, not provocative or harsh.

All the best
 

SEDGY

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Great posting Nigel, thank you for making the effort.It is a very interesting subject.
In my teenage years when I used to spin a lot for sea trout and salmon you would get the occasional fish completely ignore your lure and have a go at the ball-bearing swivel and I remember purposely incorporating a small fly at the swivel knot and caught fish.

Also, when using a braided loop at the end of a fly line when night fishing for sea trout I noticed, time and time again, fish turning on the wake it would cause .To such an extent that I, again, tied in a small fly at this point on a 2” dropper and caught fish.
 

Mabb

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Thanks for all the replies lads I really appreciate you all taking time to give me some pointers.

What left of this season I’ll continue to use my usual setup but Ill have a good read through the comments and certainly give them a try nest year.

I see Nigel mentioned dapping there, I’ve never done it myself but my father was a dab hand at it on Lough Erne for trout. He used live flies to do it, he would have spent some time catching Daddy Longlegs which he kept in a box, then iirc he had a certain way of putting them on the hook for for the right presentation. He caught many fish using it, I think his best was 22 fish in a day. Though I’d say growing up down there and knowing the lough well helped.

M
 

The flying Scotsman

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Thanks for all the replies lads I really appreciate you all taking time to give me some pointers.

What left of this season I’ll continue to use my usual setup but Ill have a good read through the comments and certainly give them a try nest year.

I see Nigel mentioned dapping there, I’ve never done it myself but my father was a dab hand at it on Lough Erne for trout. He used live flies to do it, he would have spent some time catching Daddy Longlegs which he kept in a box, then iirc he had a certain way of putting them on the hook for for the right presentation. He caught many fish using it, I think his best was 22 fish in a day. Though I’d say growing up down there and knowing the lough well helped.

M
Dapping is an incredibly successful way to fish. I used to do a fair bit dapping on loch Tay in my wee boat. It was a pain in the ass sometimes as you rely on the wind which makes the loch choppy. If you can’t see the bottom you are out too far. Drift down the bank looking out for big boulders that you need the oars for to manoeuvre around.
I’d fished the loch since I was like 8 years old and never believed there were so many fish in it until I started dapping for them. You turn dozens and dozens of fish. With them leaping several times for your fly as you lift. The best fly to use was a big black penel tied with 2 big hen hackles. Then instead of gink get muclin on a tooth brush and give the fly a good going over with that. Then just let the dapping silk take your fly out and bounce it of the surface lift move bounce again. It’s a very exciting way to fish. I had some cracking big brownies like this and turned some monsters. Problem is you tend to strike when you see them take your fly and they don’t hook up as your hook is vertical so you have to count to 3 before striking. Easier said than done.
 
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